A thought on Impostor Syndrome (and why I’d rather be with it than without it).
On Friday, as you might have seen from Saturday’s video, my partner thought a bunch of people at the professional writers’ meet-up he came with me to for the first time weren’t actually writers.
Because that’s what they said about themselves.
(My partner works in the film industry. Where, as you can imagine, NOBODY says “Oh, I’m not really a filmmaker…”. Ever.)
This afternoon, I joined two of my colleagues and two of our MA students to be filmed discussing our courses. I caught myself thinking whether I shouldn’t mention the exercises we’re using that were based on my own book.
Nobody censored me, other than me.
Here is what I want to do about it. Feel free to join me if it resonates with you too:
I will value, discuss and celebrate my work of itself.
I will enjoy when people are surprised I have a PhD, an ISBN number, or anything else. Because I’m changing what those things look like to those people. It’s not about me. It’s about them.
I will notice (not judge, but notice) when I think “but so and so wrote that which is much more established/impressive/famous etc” and acknowledge how irrelevant comparison is. No one else in time and space can write what I can. Letting comparison and self-consciousness have the final word means everybody loses.
I will name the “who does she think she is” voices in my head. I know who they are. They’re just an echo, of something that didn’t matter in the first place.
I will remember everything I write is imperfect and everything you write is imperfect and everything everyone has ever written is imperfect — but real, in the world. Because it got better with every draft so the message made its way into the world. I will remember perfectionism never gets around to connecting with anyone — but authentic does.
Here are three books I love and am proud I wrote. Here’s to the ones that will follow.
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